It’s the most wonderful time of the year when the season starts to change. Autumn rolls around right after summer with its changing colors, breezy weather, and holidays stacked on top of each other like cookies. Unfortunately, as the weather gets colder, we are susceptible to illnesses and a weaker immune system. Here are 10 ways to strengthen the immune system during seasonal changes:
Make sure you get enough sleep.
Many studies have shown that those who do not get a lot of sleep are more susceptible to getting colds. One study published in PubMed Journal concluded that “those who slept fewer than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night.”
UCDavis Health states that there are many enzymes in our body that depend on zinc to help build immunity and fight illnesses. Some foods that include zinc include beans, seeds, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood.
Magnesium helps to keep the immune system strong and even helps to regulate hormones in our bodies. Some magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, and peanuts.
Vitamin B6 helps to keep the immune system and nervous system healthy. Foods that contain vitamin B6 are pork, poultry, peanuts, wheat germ, bananas, and oats.
Vitamin E, when taken in the body, acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin E can be found in spinach, broccoli, almonds, peanuts, wheat germ, sunflower, and hazelnuts.
Don’t Smoke or Vape
The CDC states that smoking harms the immune system and can make the body less successful at fighting disease.
Eat more fruits and vegetables for vitamin intake.
Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet is essential during this seasonal change. Foods high in fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants help to fight off illnesses and may boost your immune system according to PubMed Central.
Getting the right amount of exercise your body needs is key to fighting off illnesses. Moderate exercises like running, cycling, and swimming are great ways to reduce inflammation and help your body keep up its natural immunity to fight the flu and other illnesses intent on coming your way, writes SaVanna Shoemaker MS, RDN, LD of Healthline.
Keep your stress levels low!
Saul McLeod, a psychology teaching assistant and published researcher at The University of Manchester, writes, “When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.”
A few ways to reduce stress according to SaVanna Shoemaker MS, RDN, LD :
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
While we all love to drink around the holidays, it’s important to note that alcohol can promote inflammation and make it harder for the immune system to fight germs. Dr. Alex Mroszczyk-McDonald, a family physician in Southern California states, “Alcohol intake can kill normal healthy gut bacteria, which help to promote health and reduce risk of infection.”